Completed Continental European before 1800 44 Could this portrait of Anna Ludovica, aged two, be by Peter Paul Rubens?

A Child Called Anne Louise, Aged 2
Topic: Artist

Stylistically there are strong similarities to Rubens’ pictures of children, especially in the face, which bears a resemblance to his drawing of a child wearing a pearl necklace in the Albertina in Vienna.

Inscribed: ‘ANNA LVD.ÆTAT AN 2’ [LVD = Ludovica/Louise].

The frame is inscribed ‘Lady Anne Egerton’ and ‘Honthorst’. There is a label ‘71’ lower left. The painting was bequeathed by Maurice Egerton, 4th Baron Egerton of Tatton, with the house, gardens and contents of Tatton Park.

Art UK adds: As a point of comparison, ‘An Oil Painting of a Young Child’, thought to be German 17th century, 15 x 12 inches, was offered for sale by Earle D. Vandekar, New York (sale date unknown). The sale record notes ‘A. Ferdinand’ in green paint on the backboard.

Peter Harrison, Entry reviewed by Art UK

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Completed, Outcome

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Jacinto Regalado,

It seems a little too soft for Honthorst. I suppose one could think of one of the Leiden Fijnschilders.

Jacinto Regalado,

I tend to doubt this is by Rubens. It seems too slick, glossy and highly finished, although certainly very accomplished and quite charming.

James Fairhead,

This is an enigmatic but I think exceptional painting, and I do think that it may be by Rubens. The inscription ANNA LVD who is aged 2 has until now been interpreted as referring to someone called Anna Louise (or Anna Louisa, Anne Louise, Anna Ludovica etc). Yet the Latin inscription, ANNA LVD, may also refer to the Anne who was ‘Anne of Austria’, eldest daughter of Phillip III of Spain and wife of the French King Louis XIII and mother of the French King Louis XIV (Louis the Great, the Sun King). This is because Louis XIV was also known as LVD. On medals that resemble this kind of inscription, for example, he was officially called “LVD. REX” or “LVD. XIV. FRAN. ET NAV. REX”, “LVD. MAGNUS REX CHRISTIANISSIMUS”. How he was to be called was much discussed, but a lot had LVD.

There are precedents, too, that his mother might be called ANNA LVD. For example, in a memorial of thanks to the Church of Sainte-Radegonde (Vienne, Poitiers) by Anne of Austria for healing her son, Louis XIV by the intersession of the Patron Saint of Poitiers, dated 12 Sept 1658, the crowned monogramme AL is repeated three times, representing the initials: “Anna, Ludovicus”. (Jacques JARRY Corpus des inscriptions latines et étrangères du Poitou. Tome 3).

Recall, now, that Anne of Austria was born at the Palace of Valladolid, Spain in 1601 and was living there when Rubens famously visited in 1603, at exactly the age when she was 2, as inscribed in this portrait.

If this hypothesis is correct, then the inscription would have to be much later (mid to late 17th century) long after Anne’s marriage to Louis XIII, and we can expect, too, the painting to have been adapted in some other ways, with perhaps the curtains being added, and even the silk skirt with its French royal “Fleur de Lis” pattern (that I suspect was the origin of Jacinto's concern with it being too slick, glossy and finished). Yet one might even imagine that Rubens adapted it while he was working for Anna of Austria in Paris later in their lives.

James Fairhead,

My earlier post on this portrait is probably wrong (sorry). This portrait is probably more or less what it says it is: a portrait of Lady Anne Egerton (as the frame currently suggests), as a suitable (and seemingly only suitable) ‘Lady Anne Egerton’ was one of the daughters of Lady Frances Stanley (Countess Bridgwater) and John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgwater (Bridgewater) who possessed the Tatton estate where this portrait still hangs. According to the frame, this painting depicts ‘Lady Anne Egerton’, and according to the portrait inscription, it depicts an ‘Anne Louise’ aged 2. ‘Lady Anne Egerton’ died on 27 December 1625 in her eighth year (i.e. aged 7 ), so was thus born in 1618/19, and so would have been 2 in 1620/21. At around this date her mother sat for Paul Van Somer
His portrait of her shows some similarities in style to this portrait, and as he painted other children of the aristocracy, he would surely be in the running as artist. Paul van Somer had come over to England in 1617 as court painter to James 1st and died here in 1622. The artist could not be William Larkin, as he died in 1619, and it could not be Honthorst (to whom this portait is currently attributed) as he had not yet come to the UK (and as his portraits have a very different style, to boot). Van Somer was a leading painter of the royal court, foreshadowing Rubens and Van Dyck in this role.
The composition in this portrait conforms with court portraits of this date - the framing in a black background between two curtains, the carpet with its overly-sheer perspective and so on were all classic to portraits by William Larkin and by some of Paul Van Somer’s as well. Van Somer painted portraits of courtier children, some of them very good. The freer painting in this work can be found in some of van Somer’s other portraits. Some of the lettering, too, is similar
The dress in the portrait conforms with fashion 1600-1630 (and the sitter’s grandmother has a portrait of her wearing this c.1600, and Cornelis de Vos painted one of his children in the late 1660s wearing similar). The composition of the work is much less formal than most child portraits of the era, and is rather exceptional in that the sitter not looking at the artist, and this is what led me also to take the Rubens suggestion seriously. Yet the composition is not that different from several works by other Flemish artists, such as Cornelis de Vos, and anyway, Somer presumably knew Rubens and Vos.
Moreover, the sitter’s mother, Lady Frances Stanley, Countess Bridgewater, was an exceptional patron of the arts and perhaps seeking something a little more avant-garde. They were Royalty, really, as her aunt had been Heir Apparent to the throne. Lady Frances was the daughter of Ferdinando Stanley, the 5th Earl of Derby who was ‘Lord Strange’ and patronised the theatre company ‘Lord Strange’s men’ that performed Shakespeare’s plays and for which Shakespeare may have penned plays. Lady Frances was herself a huge collector plays, including of Shakespeare’s works, and was the first person known to have bound a complete volume of his (then) published works in 1602 (Lukas Erne, “Shakespeare and the Book Trade.”). When Lady Frances’ married John Egerton, she was in fact marrying her step-brother, as Lady Frances’s own mother, Alice Spencer, Countess of Derby (who herself was patron to the Derby Players), had married Thomas Egerton, John Egerton’s father. More on the relatives is at

Of course this could all be wrong too, especially if this Lady Anne Clifford did not have the second name of 'Louise' which I have to been able to ascertain. That would probably clinch it either way.

Martin Hopkinson,

It is evidently by the same hand as another portrait of a child in this collection, a Boy called Lucas aged 6 months , which is virtually of the same size.
The sloping carpets suggest that the artist belongs to a more conservative tradition than Rubens

Laura Schwendinger,

It certainly could be by Rubens. The rolls of hair..the layers of fat under chin, the light hand certainly reminds me of some of his works. Even dare I say...

Ann Buchanan,

Honthorst was used to disguise a Caravaggio 'The taking of Christ' (Winton House East Lothian) for export purposes from Italy in 18th century, so maybe this is the case for this Rubens?

Eddy Schavemaker,

The quality of this painting is way below Rubens's standard. Not even workshop. The loos style of painting is certainly Flemish and it can be dated on account of the dress to the late 1620s or early 1630s.

Jacinto Regalado,

I think this could very well be by Cornelis de Vos (1584-1651), an Antwerp painter noted for his depictions of children (either alone or in family groups), who knew and worked with Rubens. Some examples of his work linked below:

James Fairhead,

I know I’ll be shot down on this, but I’ll put it out there anyway…. This may have something to do with Velazquez school, and particularly Juan Bautista Martinez de Mazo. If we look at Velazquez “Don Baltasar Carlos with a Dwarf” we see the same carpet, the same sloped perspective on it, the same cushion and golden tassel, and similar curtain. We also seem the same writing saying much the same thing. And then the same cushion, tassel and costume appears in Velazquez’s “Prince Felipe Prospero, and the costume begins to look similar.
Some of the painting is handled differently between all of these, and different hands are surely afoot in school paintings (and restored ones) and there is some confusion anyway in attributions between Velazquez and his most distinguished follower (and member of his school) his son in law Juan Bautista Martinez de Mazo. So if we look at Mazo’s painting of his own family we see very similar clothing again.ínez_del_Mazo If this work is linked to Velazquez’s Spanish school, then so, presumably, is its pendant. The boy called Lucas aged 6 months.

Al Brown,

Maybe James' suggestion shouldn't be ruled out altogether - the detail of the feather attached to one side of the hair immediately reminded me of that fashion in Velasquez' portraits of Mariana and Margerita Theresa.

Jacinto Regalado,

Our picture looks much more Flemish than Spanish. The finish is much smoother and glossier, and the drapes much more precise. In other words, the work looks more artificial and less "modern." If anything, the work of Martínez del Mazo looks rather rough by comparison, and even Murillo is more earthy. I am not convinced.

Louis Musgrove,

The carpet is of a type called a " Lotto" carpet ,because that design was used a lot by Lorenzo Lotto. It appears there is a clasification of carpets in rennaisance art , as the designs are quite specific !

Jacob Simon,

This three-year-old discussion, “Could this portrait of Anna Ludovica, aged two, be by Peter Paul Rubens?”

The portrait is quite clearly not by Rubens, as various contributors have said, and it does not feature as a Rubens in the extensive recent literature on the artist. As Martin says (7 January 2019), “It is evidently by the same hand as another portrait of a child in this collection, a Boy called Lucas aged 6 months, which is virtually of the same size.” To my eye these portraits are too soft to be by Honthorst or Cornelis de Vos. But they are Flemish, as the collection website says, perhaps 1630s from the costume and style.

I suggest that we have answered the question set in this discussion in the negative.

Jacob Simon,

A year on from the above post. If it is accepted that we have answered the question set in this discussion in the negative, I would suggest closing it down.

Jacob, thank you for your efforts to help clear the site of inactive and/or unpromising topics. We did move a lot of submissions onto this public area of the website in 2021–2022 to try reduce that backlog.

This discussion predates that activity. Would it not be worth involving some European curators before we close it? Whether we do is up to Xanthe, as Group Leader.

I am taking some annual leave so there will be no submissions or discussions answered tomorrow and most of next week, but I will catch up on requests as soon as possible.

Art UK's 2022 Collections Survey included the comment 'Art Detective is an amazing service. It's like employing an additional staff member.' Thank you all!

Jacob Simon,

Great if Xanthe feels the discussion is worth taking further.

Enjoy your leave, Marion. I'll slow the pace for the rest of the month.

Kieran Owens,


Unless there is some very specific technical reason, such as an overburdened memory capacity in the ArtUK database that might cause some systems crash, could I please ask that a halt be put to the requests by various ArtUK contributors to close down discussions before they are resolved? It is immensely irritating to me that this is happening, with what appears to be an increasing regularity.

Outside of that technical danger, what possible difference can it make to the Art Detective facility if discussions, once opened, remain so for years on end? The insistence that currently-challenging long-term cases are shut down denies the possibility of new contributors - with access to novel sources of proof or valuable expertise and insights - having useful and, has happened often, convincingly conclusive contributions to make, no matter how many years later it might be that they have voluntarily joined in with this valuable art research service.

One of the most important reasons for leaving every unresolved discussion open is to enable all participants to read through existing theories or suggestions, thus allowing for new information to be submitted without the danger of repetition and also to avoid the possibility that an unresolved but closed discussion might be opened anew, at some future date, without any reference to the previously-presented arguments and evidence.

A simple example of the benefit of leaving a discussion is my own modest contribution to the Bower House / Abraham Pether one, which was opened by Bethany Pearce on the 22nd September 2015 and to which I made an important contribution, over two years later, on the 31st December 2017 and which was finally closed in 2019. This example might never have been so successfully resolved had a request to close it down been submitted at any time during the four years of its being open. For anyone needing reminding, it can be read here:

In conclusion, I am asking that people please stop asking for opened and ongoing discussions to be closed for no good reason. It might be beyond the capacity or wit of those making such requests to resolve existing challenges but it has been seen many times that fresh minds can deliver excellent results, in spite of the length of time that such discussion have been languishing in the Art Detective corner of the Art UK site.

Jacob Simon,


I fully agree that ongoing discussions should continue. There is then a question as to what is an ongoing discussion. I take it that where there have been no contributions over a long space of time, a discussion is not ongoing.

Sometimes a recommendation to close a discussion has not been acted on after many months. On occasion I have suggested that such a discussion or one where there has been no contribution over a long space of time should be closed. Interestingly on occasion such a suggestion brings the discussion back to life, sometimes productively. Where a suggestion of this kind does NOT revitalise the discussion, it confirms that the discussion is not ongoing. Many of these are of a nature that there is no realistic prospect, given the nature of the discussion question, of carrying it further.

I have observed that the number of open discussions is difficult for some Group Leaders and for Art UK to fully manage. Ongoing discussions are valuable. But moribund discussions risk damaging the usefulness and image of Art Detective.

Kieran Owens,

Jacob, in regards to these ageing and unresolved open discussions, I cannot support the cultural senicide that you are proposing. Many a patient on the brink of death has been restored to good health due the intervention of fresh thinking about their underlying problems. Their lives, like these Art Detective discussions, are ongoing while there is still the slightest chance of revival and ultimate resolution.

Your suggestion that the unsuccessful revival of moribund discussions should be dealt with by the unplugging of their Art UK life support machine raises questions not of the justification of keeping them indefinitely alive but of the competence of those in whose care they have been placed. If, as you have observed, these open discussions are difficult for some Group Leaders and for Art UK to fully manage, surely the focus should be placed on providing better-qualified and more robustly capable advisors or, as is probably more likely the solution, additional staff with sufficient expertise to cater to the needs of the whole Art Detective and Art UK project.

At this point in time, it appears that Andy, Marion and the Art UK team are struggling along like the overburdened and underfunded NHS, dangerously on the verge of collapse but always keeping going, despite the threat of severe burn-out, by the passionate commitment of those who believe in the overall cause.

I, for one, would not like to see the wholesale termination of the lives of moribund discussions just because someone arbitrarily decides that they are not "ongoing".

Thank you, Kieran and Jacob, for your views on how the discussions should be administered. I am on my Friday off (I work a 9-day fortnight) and busy all day, but I will respond properly soon.

Jacinto Regalado,

I suspect that, while AD is no doubt understaffed, optimal staffing is quite unlikely to materialize. Thus, AD should act realistically rather than idealistically. Naturally, we are all entitled to our opinions, but I tend to agrre with Jacob. I find all these long dormant discussions vaguely depressing, not to say discouraging and even discrediting.

I am actually more concerned with discussions where significant progress *has* been made but no action has been taken on it, meaning the progress is being wasted. Thus, I think AD should act as expeditiously and as efficiently as possible to move things along.

Martin Hopkinson,

Jacob and Jacinto clearly recognise a basic problem over moving things along - it would be very good if all group leaders did so expeditiously. Marion does a terrific job, but more outside funds are obviously required

Jacinto Regalado,

Marion clearly cannot do all that needs to be done on her own; it is too much for one person, but AD should do better. I think group leaders could be more aggressive, so to speak. Discussions where action could be taken but simply languish tend to look like neglect, which is not to AD's credit. However, I realise group leaders are unpaid volunteers who have other jobs and responsibilities to which they must attend preferentially, so the matter is complicated.

Kieran Owens,

How good it is that we all still live, for the moment at least, in societies where one can still air a differing point of view.

The goal for Art UK surely is to realise that optimal staffing level. In the meantime, I'm wondering exactly how AD's long-dormant discussions cause any discredit. Amongst whom? The group of people who engage with the service is relatively small. And if contributors find the near-death discussions depressing, to whatever level of personal anguish, just ignore them. Others of us are still up for the challenge, no matter how long the resolutions take.

James Fairhead,

Well it is good to keep this open, being figures of youth. I see a similarity in this work with an engraving at the British Museum after ‘Gonzalez’. One image in the BM suggests incorrectly this Gonzalez might be ‘Castor Gozalez Velazquez’ (1768-1822 ) but the Gonzalez in question is definitely the Flemish painter, Gonzales Coques (Cocx, Cock, Kocx, a.k.a. ‘the little van Dyck’). We can know this because an earlier image of this girl is correctly attributed to him at
Coques almost certainly worked for Van Dyck and almost certainly came to England during van Dyck's final residence here, because Joannes Meyssens' engraved portrait says that Coques worked for Charles I of England.

Coques also worked for Charles I's two sons, Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester and Charles II when they were exiled in Burges (1656-1657). For information on Coques, see Compare with the work in the National Gallery
A possibility?

Jacinto Regalado,

Gonzales Cocques is an interesting thought, but I think his work is more animated or life-like and less slick and glossy, less highly finished than our picture. See

Kieran Owens,

Is it possible that the collection could report on whether or not there is any writing or labels on the reverse side of the portrait of the six-month-old boy Lucas, who, as pointed out above by Martin Hopkinson in January 2019, is most obviously painted by the same hand?

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William Latham,

I have a painting that shares aspects of Anna’s portrait. Canvas measures 20.25” x 16.5” signed illegibly to my eye, with uncanny similarities in treatment, pose, dress, and countenance. Perhaps the signature will help elucidate the artist’s identity. The canvas maker verso is L. Provost 3 Quai Voltaire Paris.

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Jacob Simon,

The Guide Labreuche to Paris canvas stamps lists L. Prévost at 3 quai Voltaire from 1874 until 1890.

Are the "uncanny similarities" spotted by William Latham coincidence or marginal to our discussion?

Jacinto Regalado,

I would say they are marginal, Jacob. I thought Mr. Latham's picture looked like a 19th century work (in 17th century mode) even before you dated the canvas maker.

Louis Musgrove,

Two things. First -- I look at the words at top. I see an A after LUD.
So I read ANNA LUDA AETAT AN 2 which to me says --- Anna at Play- aged 2.
Secondly - here is a Rubens drawing of his son-
Which has an amazing similarity with our sitter here. So is there some sort of Rubens input here. Did someone copy something by Rubens to make a good painting????

Marcie Doran,

I, too, see an 'A' after 'LUD', Louis.

Belgium has a genealogy database that can be searched by name.

On the left side of the page enter Anna in the 'voornam' box (first name) and Luda in the 'achternaam' box (surname).

The results at the link below are promising - all early 17th century records. 'Bruid' means bride and 'moeder dopeling' means baptismal mother.

Perhaps Anna Luda was related to the 'schepen' (alderman) Philips Luda.

Here is a working link to the portrait of a child that was mentioned by Peter Harrison in the introductory comment.

And, here is the link to the portrait 'A Boy Called Lucas, Aged 6 Months' that was first mentioned by Martin (07/01/2019 16:07). I wonder if there is an 'I' after 'LUC' - perhaps his name was Lucius.

Jacob Simon,

I don't see an 'A' after 'LUD'. Further, I would suggest that the even spacing of the words in the inscription would not work with an extra 'A'.

I go back to my post of 14/01/2022: “This three [now five]-year-old discussion asks, “Could this portrait of Anna Ludovica, aged two, be by Peter Paul Rubens?...... I suggest that we have answered the question set in this discussion in the negative.”

I agree with Jacob about the spacing and there is a clear dot after LUD, at the same distance from it as the dot after 'AETAT'. I tried to attach a detail but the site is still broken – sorry.

I will ask Xanthe if she would like to comment.

Xanthe kindly contacted Dr Stephen Lloyd, Curator of the Earl of Derby's collection, who happened to be at the annual CODART conference of 143 curators of Flemish and Dutch art in Stockholm, 16–18 June. She asked Stephen to ask for comments and three of the curators agreed that it was not by Honthorst as stated on the frame and was probably by a Flemish artist c.1620 working in England, as the curtains and carpet looked English.

Dr Nico Van Hout, Head of Collections at the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (KMSKA) in Antwerp, asked whether it would be possible to see a higher-res image. Art UK's TIFF isn't ideal, but I have sent it to Xanthe.

Dr Lloyd hasn't been able to clarify the identity of the 2-year old, as the grand-daughter of the 5th Earl of Derby & daughter of Lady Frances Stanley who married into the Egerton family was called Lady Alice Stanley.

To return to the inscription, 'LVD' has been interpreted as 'LUD' (for Ludovica, as in the National Trust's online catalogue); James Fairhead negated his initial thoughts that ANNA LUD might refer to Anne of Austria; Louis Musgrove (4/12/23), suggested 'LUDA' might stand for 'at play'.

It was established that there is no letter A after LVD in this painting's inscription, but LVD is an abbreviation for 'ludus, -i, m., game, play, etc. (but of ludens?) Ludi (LVD.) were frequently noted on Roman coins.

Would anyone like to comment before we close on Friday, including further on the portrait inscribed 'LVC' ('Lucas'?) in the same collection and by the same hand, also bequeathed by Maurice Egerton with the house and its contents?

Art Detective is scheduled to close to new comments sometime on the afternoon of 28 June. I have asked for that to be as close to the end of the working day as possible.

The larger capitals used in 'Anna' and 'Lvd' as well as the absence of a dot after Anna seems to suggest two consecutive names. I hope it is helpful to air some of the ideas here again in case any progress can be made in the short time remaining, though the main question here is who painted these portraits.

It will be very good to hear Nico van Hout's impression after he sees the better images of 'Anna' and 'Lucas', though they aren't very high resolution.

Marcie Doran,

The following link is to a collection of Egerton family papers at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Page 14 of 99 at the link on this page for Volume 9 includes a category for "Pictures, Family Portraits, &c. - Receipted A/c."

Perhaps, one day, someone could review that document, just in case it is mentioned.